• Airports of all sizes have an impact of some kind on the environment, both locally and potentially globally.

    This can include:

    • Emissions from aircraft and ground vehicles, as well as from power use in buildings, all contributing to climate change and local air quality issues
    • Noise from aircraft for local residents
    • Potential to damage local wildlife and habitats and water courses
    • Waste generation

    More information about these topics is available in the section  Aviation's environmental impact.

    The rules that airports have to adhere to

    Airports have to comply with a range of legislation in terms of the environmental effects that they generate. Failure to do so could see them prosecuted. Many airports strive to go further than the regulatory minimum and seek to gain accreditation under schemes such as:

    What can airports do to further reduce these environmental effects?

    There are different things that airports can do to reduce the environmental impact they have, and reduce the risk of pollution. 

    These can include:

    Noise

    • taking the balanced approach to noise management
    • encouraging airlines to use quieter aircraft through charges or incentives
    • promoting operational procedures that reduce aircraft noise such as continuous decent or climb
    • producing clear and easy to understand information to allow better understanding of the impacts
    • reporting airline performance, to allow the public to compare airlines and use noise as a factor in choosing an airline:
    • investing in noise barrier and screening.

    Climate change

    • investing in energy saving buildings
    • Installing renewable energy power systems or buying green power
    • ensuring high recycling and re-use rates of waste
    • encouraging the use of different ways to operate the aircraft to reduce emissions, such as changing the way they climb and descend during take-off and when landing.

    Air quality

    • providing and encouraging use of fixed electrical ground power (FEGP) and Preconditioned Air for airlines to use
    • optimising the efficient flow of aircraft traffic to prevent unnecessary aircraft idling and taxiing
    • investing in transport links to encourage more use of public transport
    • investing in lower emission ground vehicles.

    Waste and recycling

    • providing recycling facilities for aircraft waste and waste generated at the terminals, or elsewhere around the airport.

    Water

    • investing in improved handling facilities and processes to reduce the risk of groundwater or surface water pollution from de-icing and fuel handling equipment.

    Biodiversity

    • developing biodiversity strategies that balance the need to protect aircraft safety but maintain a positive natural environment.
    • Airports generate local environmental effects, so if you would like more information or have a particular concern, the airport itself is the best point of contact in the instance.  The major airports have dedicated environmental teams.

    Contacting your local airport

    Airports generate local environmental effects, so if you would like more information or have a particular concern, the airport itself is the best point of contact in the instance.  The major airports have dedicated environmental teams.

    Return to Environmental stakeholders